IKWRO is delighted to announce the nominees and winners of the True Honour Awards 2023.
On behalf of IKWRO and all of the judges, we congratulate every nominee for their crucial work to end “honour” based abuse and support survivors. Every single one deserves recognition and praise.

 

Lynn Carter     

Lynn worked for the Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund for 22 years, 19 of which as its Director. She continues to support the charity as a Patron. PoC provides relief and resettlement grants to prisoners of conscience; individuals, and their families, who have been persecuted for the non-violent expression of their conscientiously-held beliefs. Through this work Lynn has supported many inspiring women who have been imprisoned and abused for their human rights activities. Lynn was invited to assist the Iran Tribunal, a people’s tribunal that focused on the mass executions in Iranian prisons in the late 1980s.  This culminated in a two-stage process in 2012 with hearings at Amnesty International’s Human Rights Action Centre in London, followed by a symbolic tribunal at the Peace Palace in the Hague.  

Caterina Giammarresi

Caterina works in the Ending Violence Against Women and Girls sector and has delivered, managed, and commissioned support services for survivors. She currently works as the Victims Programme Coordinator at a London Local Authority where she contract manages a specialist service for Middle Eastern and North African women who have experienced “honour” based abuse, including women with No Recourse to Public Funds. She is working closely with the service provider to lobby for continued funding, security, and expansion of the service. Caterina is a founding member of the London Harmful Practices Strategic Partnership (HPSP), a forum which centres the expertise of global majority led ‘by and for’ violence against women and girl’s agencies to tackle harmful practices and “honour” based abuse in London. Caterina also delivers training and community events to raise awareness of VAWG and harmful practices. She recently organised a community event in solidarity with Iranian women and is currently organising an event with a particular focus on exploring Forced Marriage in the context of Modern Slavery.

Jason M Hadden MBE

Jason is a barrister at St Ives chambers in Birmingham and has a door tenancy at fourteen chambers in London. He co-wrote a successful book on children’s law book  called “How to represent yourself in family court” Jason has been involved in handling complex cases involving “honour” abuse for twenty years. He has challenged local authorities that have failed to recognise and address risk of “honour” based abuse. He speaks at events with charities domestic abuse workers and IDVAs to explain the court process. He is currently working with academics and Women’s Aid to change the law so that finding of facts in Children Act proceedings are available to other parties (and non-parties) to help prevent a pattern of perpetrators destroying numerous lives. 

Dr Maz Idriss 

Maz’s research (spanning 17 years) focuses on violence against women and men in South-Asian communities, with including HBA and forced marriages. He was awarded his PhD in 2018, where he interviewed 38 survivors and key agents involved in HBA and forced marriages as part of his research. He has published widely in a number of academic journals including writing for the Criminal Law ReviewJournal of Criminal LawJournal of Social Welfare and Family Law, Journal of Interpersonal Violence and the International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice. He has also published two edited books on “honour” based abuse.

Tina Pokuaah

Tina is a gender-based violence consultant. She has successfully delivered training and workshops on “honour” based abuse prevention and response strategies to thousands of people globally at NGO’s, schools, community groups, private and public sector business, for over a decade. She is passionate and committed to raising awareness and firmly believes safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and that every child and adult deserves to be protected from abuse and harm.  

Dr Jocelynne A. Scutt

Jocelynne is a Barrister, academic and activist, former Anti-Discrimination Commissioner and High Court and Court of Appeal Judge, Chief Judge of the Family Court and Employment Judge. She has advocated, spoken, written, published and demonstrated for women’s rights and specifically for the right to be free from abuse and unlawful killing. Her writing on “honour” based abuse includes; the President’s Report of the CEDAW People’s Tribunal 2020; ‘(Dis)honour, Death and Duress in the Courtroom’; and a chapter in ‘Honour’ Killing & Violence – Theory, Policy & Practice. By including reference to “honour” based abuse in the modules she delivers at the University of Buckingham she enables students to learn the importance of using legal skills to help end violence against women and girls.

Naadiya Tariq 

Naadiya is a family solicitor working at Ben Hoare Bell LLP, a firm in the North-East that specialises in assisting victims/ survivors who have experienced or are at risk of “honour” based abuse. She works in the international family team and helps women secure Non-Molestation Orders, Forced Marriage Protection Orders and Female Genital Mutilation Protective Orders. She also assists with children proceedings. In a recent complex case Involving trafficking and child abduction, she succeeded in the Court of Appeal and the case was reported in the law report. She helps women access refuges and works closely with the Angelou Centre. She provides bespoke training on “honour” based abuse. She is praised by her colleagues as being a passionate defender of the rights of minoritised women.

Shamsa Sharawe  – Special Recognition as Inspiring Activist Tackling “Honour” Based Violence  

Shamsa is a passionate activist. She is a survivor of FGM, forced marriage, domestic abuse and “honour” based abuse. She grew up in London in a controlling household. Aged 17 she was pressured to travel to Somalia to be “re-cultured” and her British passport was taken away so that she could not leave. She was forced into an abusive marriage. A year later she managed to escape and return to the UK. She has been failed over and over again by organisations, hospitals, local authorities, social services and her college, who turned a blind eye to the issues she was facing. 

Shamsa does youth work and trains new recruits to the Metropolitan Police Service and speaks at events with charities across the UK. Her video about her lived experiences and work was watched more than two million times. Shamsa is a key activist featured in the Mayor of London’s FGM Stops Here campaign which launched on 6 February 2023, the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM. Shamsa is now working on establishing her charity Garden of Peace, a safe space for women and young people to plant their seed to kick start their healing journey.

Fraidy Reiss  – Unchained at Last -– Special Recognition: International Commitment to Ending “Honour” Based Violence 

Fraidy Reiss is a survivor turned activist. She was 19 when she was forced to marry a stranger who turned out to be violent – and subjected to a virginity examination before the wedding. She lost all sexual and reproductive rights within her abusive marriage, forced to have unprotected marital sex and forced to have two children without her consent. When she finally managed to escape her abusive forced marriage, her family shunned her. 

Fraidy rebuilt her life and founded Unchained At Last, the only organization dedicated to ending forced and child marriage in the United States through direct services and advocacy. Fraidy considered one of the foremost experts on these abuses in the U.S.  and her research and writing has been published extensively, including in the New York Times, Washington Post, the Journal of Adolescent Health and Oxford Press. She has been featured in books (including Hillary and Chelsea Clinton’s The Book of Gutsy Women), films (including the award-winning documentary Knots: A Forced Marriage Story) and countless television, radio and print news stories. 

Through Unchained, Fraidy has helped hundreds of survivors escape forced marriages, and she now leads a growing national movement to end child marriage in every U.S. state and at the federal level. Legislation she helped to write and promote has been passed into law in multiple U.S. states. 

Marzia Babakarkhail – Special Recognition: Longstanding Commitment to Ending “Honour” Based Violence 

Marzia was a judge in Baghlan, Afghanistan from 1991 to 1998. She was passionate about women’s rights in Afghanistan, and in spite of the threat of the Taliban, in 1994 she established the Afghan Women Social and Cultural Organization to empower women. She was also Chairperson of the Women’s Committee at the Afghan NGO’s Coordination Bureau. 

Marzia was forced to flee Afghanistan in 2008. She was targeted by the Taliban for setting up a foundation for educating girls in Pakistan. They tried to kill her in a high-speed hit-and-run incident as she visited her sick mother in hospital. She was severely injured and spent six months in hospital recovering. 

As an asylum seeker Marzia worked tirelessly as a volunteer in the community and supporting grassroots organisations. In 2017 she won the Fusion Woman of the Year Award, and was nominated for a pride award in Oldham. She has been shortlisted for a Northern Powerhouse Women’s Award as an outstanding mentor.  

Mazia works as a caseworker with Oldham MP Debbie Abrahams and she has become a speaker, trainer and leader in many community projects in the UK advocating for people facing disadvantage, particularly in the refugee community.

Since the Taliban took power in Afghanistan in 2021, Mazia has been campaigning for Afghan female judges to be resettled in safe countries and is a consistent voice on international media. 

Mino Hemati  – Special Recognition for Lifetime Activism to End “Honour” Based Violence 

Mino has dedicated her life to shining a spotlight on “honour” based abuse and “honour” killings and the abuse of women’s rights in Iran and Afghanistan ensuring that the truth is exposed and breaking silence and taboos. Twenty years ago, in 2004, Mino established RahaiZan TV, a weekly programme broadcast via satellite in Farsi, which is watched by people within Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan as well as across the Middle East, North America and Europe. Mino is the Producer and Host Journalist of the programme. Mino is also editor of the Emancipation of Women monthly publication.  

Through these communication channels, Mino ensures that people within Iran and Afghanistan, and globally, know about crucial information which the authoritarian states try to keep from them. In particular the abuse of women’s rights enacted under Islamic penal law, such as stoning. She has also highlighted the ongoing harmful practice of female genital mutilation within the region. In addition to the vital role of raising awareness, a significant impact of Mino’s work has been to support women’s rights activists working on the ground.  

Through The Organization for Emancipation of Women and RahaiZan TV, Mino has developed a crucial network. She is regularly contacted by women seeking help and she has been able to save the lives of many survivors by connecting them to organisations and activists. Mino has raised key campaigns responding to the brutality seen recently in Afghanistan and Iran. Mino been very active in response to the Taliban taking control of Afghanistan. She helped ensure the safety of many women who were in grave danger, including TV presenters and activists, supporting them as they left Afghanistan to find safe passage and refuge. She continues to highlight the abuses of the Taliban. Mino is also a vital voice covering the current protests in Iran, crucially heard by people within Iran.  

Dr Savin Bapir-Tardy – Special Recognition for Academic Contribution to End ”Honour” Based Abuse

Savin is a Counselling Psychologist, an academic and a lecturer in Psychology at Roehampton University. She is a leading expert on the impacts of “honour” based abuse on mental health and on how to work therapeutically with survivors. She conducted her doctoral research into experiences of traumatic events.

Savin worked with IKWRO for over 7 years and led the counselling team, which provides specialist therapy for women who have experienced ‘honour’ based abuse, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and domestic abuse. She continues to work directly with survivors of trafficking, FGM, forced marriage and domestic abuse in her clinical practice, Mindsight Centre. Her work has had a profound impact on the lives of so many women traumatised by “honour” based abuse. 

Naomi Wiseman – Special Recognition for Driving Change

Naomi is a barrister specialising in children’s law and children’s rights. She has expertise in proceedings with an international element and in representing vulnerable adults and children. She provides pro bono legal advice for survivors seeking family court orders for protection and financial provision. 

Four years ago, IKWRO’s Campaign team sought expert advice from Naomi. Since then, she has worked extensively alongside IKWRO, as a legal expert and advocate.

Naomi has played a pivotal role in the major campaign milestones achieved this year in the movement to end “honour” based abuse, banning three harmful practices: virginity testing, hymenoplasty and child marriage.  

Naomi advised on the existing law, truly understood the nuances of the change that survivors wanted to see. She helped develop solutions and drafted suggested wording for the legislation on hymenoplasty and child marriage. She presented legal briefings to government and advocated alongside IKWRO at parliamentary meetings and events. Her advice helped MP’s and Ministers to understand and work through the legal complexities. She helped develop public knowledge by speaking at conferences, writing in journals and appearing in the media including The Guardian and BBC Breakfast. She was a key expert consulted and filmed for ITV’s Exposure: Britain’s Virginity Clinics Uncovered.

She was recognised for her pro bono advice work in the Sunday Times Alternative Honours list for 2021. 

Naomi is currently involved in a challenge against the Home Office in relation to the missing unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

Mamma Sylla – Winner of the True Honour Awards 2023

Mama Sylla is a community support worker, a mother of 3, including twin girls, and a survivor of FGM.  

Mama Sylla was born and raised in Guinea. a country with the highest FGM prevalence (94.5%). She went through FGM when she was 9 years old. Looking back she says “it was extremely painful. I bled for three days. I was lucky to survive. They said a witch had put a curse on me”. 

FGM is so common in Guinea that Mama Sylla says she grew up not questioning it, until much later as an adult, when she was pregnant. Mama Sylla faced serious health complications as a result of the FGM and she was referred to a specialist FGM antenatal team.

On learning about the different types of FGM and its long-term complications, especially during childbirth, Mama Sylla spoke to women from her community. It was then that she realised that women in her community had access to very little information on FGM and its detrimental implications. She says “many women die giving birth. People will say it’s because the baby was too big, but it’s because the mother cannot push because she’s been cut.” 

From then, Mama Sylla made it her primary mission to protect her children and any other woman or girl from being cut.
Mama Sylla established La Fraternite Guineenne in 2016, a grassroots charity working to end FGM in the UK and in Guinea. She runs safeguarding workshops and events within the Guinean and West African communities across the UK and campaigns for the promotion of health care and education, especially for young, deprived girls in the Republic of Guinea.

Mama Sylla has worked extensively over the past 15 years in a volunteer capacity doing community outreach support alongside a number of charitable organisations including FORWARD UK, Family Action, the British Red Cross and 28 TOO MANY as well as with the NHS. She participated in IKWRO’s CHAT project funded by the European Union and has referred several women to IKWRO for specialist FGM support. She is a member of 28 to Many’s Board of Trustees.

In 2015, her community work was celebrated with an award from the British Red Cross. In 2018 she was part of the Home Office’s end FGM campaign “Let’s Protect Our Girls”. In 2019 she participated in Operation Limelight at Heathrow Airport to tackle FGM and “honour” based abuse. In 2020, La Fraternite Guineenne received the “Point of Light Award from the then British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.  

Mama Sylla is inspirational. She is a great example of an empowered woman that empowers women and girls, first as a role model and secondly as a persuasive campaigner. She reminds us that specialist services are essential to reducing “honour” based abuse. She works within the community to educate and successfully shift attitudes on FGM.

Mama Sylla says “my dream is to see a world free of FGM and any harmful practices . I have two daughters and they mean the world to me. They are the first generation from my family that will never undergo FGM.”

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